Healthy Living Blog

Fish to Eat, or Not

Tina Miller, MS RDN Meijer Healthy Living Advisor,


Health experts recommend that we eat more fish for brain and heart health, but is it safe to eat?  The FDA and EPA have issued final advice regarding fish consumption to help people make informed choices when it comes to fish that are healthy and safe to eat.  The advice is primarily geared toward helping pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and parents of young children eat fish that will support neurological development in their children without exposing them to risky levels of mercury or other heavy metals.


The FDA and EPA have categorized 62 types of fish into three groups (referring to fish and shellfish collectively as “fish”) to help these consumers more easily understand the types of fish to select:

  • “Best choices” (eat two to three servings a week) – These represent 90% of the most commonly eaten fish in the U.S.
  • “Good choices” (eat one serving a week)
  • “Fish to avoid”


Because the nutritional benefits of eating fish are important for growth and development during pregnancy and early childhood, the agencies are advising and promoting a minimum level of fish consumption for these groups. Recommendations for pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children consume 2-3 servings of lower-mercury fish per week, or 8 to 12 ounces.  Recommendations for the general population are to consume 12 ounces per week.


Fish Guidance Chart and Recipes:


Eat 2 to 3 servings of fish a week from the “Best Choice” list
1 serving from the “Good Choice” list 
Click on the arrows below each column header to sort by that column.

Remember, this advice refers to fish and shellfish collectively as “fish.”

Read the Questions & Answers that go along with the chart.

Fish * Best Choice, Good Choice, or Choice to Avoid?
Anchovy Best Choice
Atlantic croaker Best Choice
Atlantic mackerel Best Choice
Black sea bass Best Choice
Butterfish Best Choice
Catfish Best Choice
Clam Best Choice
Cod Best Choice
Crab Best Choice
Crawfish Best Choice
Flounder Best Choice
Haddock Best Choice
Hake Best Choice
Herring Best Choice
Lobster, American and spiny Best Choice
Mullet Best Choice
Oyster Best Choice
Pacific chub mackerel Best Choice
Perch, freshwater and ocean Best Choice
Pickerel Best Choice
Plaice Best Choice
Pollock Best Choice
Salmon Best Choice
Sardine Best Choice
Scallop Best Choice
Shad Best Choice
Shrimp Best Choice
Skate Best Choice
Smelt Best Choice
Sole Best Choice
Squid Best Choice
Tilapia Best Choice
Trout, freshwater Best Choice
Tuna, canned light (includes skipjack) Best Choice
Whitefish Best Choice
Whiting Best Choice
Bluefish Good Choice
Buffalofish Good Choice
Carp Good Choice
Chilean sea bass/Patagonian toothfish Good Choice
Grouper Good Choice
Halibut Good Choice
Mahi mahi/dolphinfish Good Choice
Monkfish Good Choice
Rockfish Good Choice
Sablefish Good Choice
Sheepshead Good Choice
Snapper Good Choice
Spanish mackerel Good Choice
Striped bass (ocean) Good Choice
Tilefish (Atlantic Ocean) Good Choice
Tuna, albacore/white tuna, canned and fresh/frozen Good Choice
Tuna, yellowfin Good Choice
Weakfish/seatrout Good Choice
White croaker/Pacific croaker Good Choice
King mackerel Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS
Marlin Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS
Orange roughy Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS
Swordfish Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS
Tilefish (Gulf of Mexico) Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS
Tuna, bigeye Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS

*Some fish caught by family and friends, such as larger carp, catfish, trout and perch, are more likely to have fish advisories due to mercury or other contaminants. State advisories will tell you how often you can safely eat those fish.  ADVICE UPDATED JANUARY 2017


Note:  General fish cooking guideline – 10 minutes per inch of fish thickness at medium high to high heat.  Fish should flake easily with a fork when cooked and should appear opaque, not translucent.


Crunchy Oven Baked Fish

Serves 4




Cooking spray

1 1/2 pounds white fish fillets such as Cod, Haddock or Grouper

1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 Tablespoon light mayonnaise

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup whole grain breadcrumbs

1 1/2 Tablespoons True Goodness® by Meijer Organic Butter, melted

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1.       Preheat oven to 425°F.

2.       Place fish in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3.       Combine lime juice, mayonnaise, onion powder, and pepper in a small bowl, and spread over fish.

4.       Sprinkle with breadcrumbs; drizzle with butter.

5.       Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with parsley.

Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories 223, Fat 7.5g, Cholesterol 84 mg, Carbohydrate 5.3g, Fiber 0.2 g, Protein 34g.

Source: Cooking Light and



Fast and Simple Fish in Foil Packets
Serves 4


4 Walleye (Pickerel) Fillets (about 1 ½ pounds) or other white fish (cod, tilapia, whiting)
1/2 Fresh lemon

1 – 2 teaspoons Lemon Pepper seasoning
2 cups fresh Pico de Gallo (or fresh salsa)
1 cup sliced red or sweet onion
Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Meijer heavy duty aluminum Foil – cut 4 18-inch sheets



  1. Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat OR oven to 425°F.
  2. Place one fish fillet in the center of each piece of foil (if fish with skins, place skin side down).
  3. Lightly squeeze fresh lemon juice over each fillet and lightly season with lemon pepper.
  4. Spoon 1/2 cup Pico de Gallo over each fillet and then top with sliced onions.
  5. Fold up foil and crimp to seal, forming packets.
  6. Place on hot grill or in oven and cook until done (opaque and flaky) – about 10 minutes.
  7. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information (per serving):  178 Calories, 2g Fat, 60mg Cholesterol,  392mg Sodium, 8g Carbohydrate, 2g Fiber, 32g Protein

Make it a meal:  Serve on top of cooked brown rice with steamed vegetables (such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus or green beans)

Recipe Source:  Tina Miller, MS RDN Meijer Healthy Living,